The Flash S3E16, Review – Into The Speed Force

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Barry’s guilt has weighed him down long before he received his powers. He feels responsible for every injury his family and friends face. As a result, even if Barry wasn’t involved, he will always do his best to save them.

It’s why, when Barry announces he needs Cisco to get him into the Speed Force to save Wally, the team accepts this is the plan of action. The only fight is from Jesse who wants to join him, but Barry puts a stop to her protest. They need one Speedster on the other side, and she is not pleased with the setup. There’s a safety net for Barry if things go bad; the team will monitor his vitals and pull him out if it becomes too rough. It’s a simple backup plan for when things go wrong.

If only it went as planned. Upon entering the Speed Force, Barry is forced into his personal hell. Ghosts from the past confront him for his motivation. They’re apparitions of the Speed Force, forcing Barry to face his demons head on; he’s been allowed to run wild for too long, and they’re putting a stop to it.

After Barry set off Flashpoint, his guilt has become so out of control it’s developed into a fear of living. Watching Barry face the reality of his actions is rough– we know he acts with good intentions, but he has made terrible decisions. This isn’t Barry reliving his mother’s death; it’s facing his mistakes as an adult. He isn’t the only one suffering through their own personal hell, as Wally’s imprisoned in one of the worst moments of his life. Over and over, Wally is forced to watch his mother suffer and die. Barry knows first hand what that must feel like, and is desperate to save Wally from that fate.

On Earth-1, Jesse is left to suffer on her own. There seems to be an underlying belief amongst the team that she isn’t as talented or fast as The Flash or Kid Flash. On her Earth, she’s the Flash! Jesse is fully capable of fighting meta-humans and monsters alike. She’s hasn’t been given a chance to prove herself on Earth-1, but that’s about to change. Charged with the need to take Savitar out for harming Wally, she’s reckless and ready to find him. It makes the team fearful she’ll put herself in the same position as Wally. Acting on her own, Jesse nearly found herself in the same situation, but H.R. steps forward and gives her that push to give Savitar a run for his money.

It’s possible H.R. had a revelation when Jesse gave him a good punch to keep him out of her hair, but H.R. comes up with possibly one of the best ideas yet. Savitar is wearing armor. If Jesse can get under it, she has a chance of hurting him. Wouldn’t you know it, Jesse manages to do just that without a problem. It’s something neither Barry or Wally has been able to do, and Jesse makes it look so easy. Can she be the key to rescuing Iris?

We’ll never know, as once Barry is saved from harm, thanks to Jay Garrick stepping in, he realizes what has to be done. It has to be Barry to save Iris; no one else can help him with that task. He can’t put the situation on someone when it was meant for him. I don’t think that’s the lesson to be learned here– maybe playing with time is the biggest takeaway– but if that’s how he sees it, I’ll roll with it. Together Barry and Jay make it through Barry’s demons to get to Wally. It seems almost too easy, to just leave the self-made prison now that they’re together, and it isn’t so simple. A Speedster must remain there, and Jay steps up to take Wally’s place instead of Barry. Barry insists he’ll come back to save him, adding another task to his growing pile.

Happy endings are for fairytales; life has been too good to be reality. The reality is, to be secure in a relationship you have to be confident with yourself. Jesse, for instance, needs to return to her home in Earth-3 for more than development. She’s scared of what Savitar has planned for her, and with Jay out of the picture, she needs to be proactive in protecting her home. Wally doesn’t fight her. Affected by being trapped in the Speed Force, this hero is out of commission.

Then there’s Barry and Iris. Iris has come around to why Barry acted out in fear and is okay with moving forward. Barry? Not so much. In one of the biggest upsets, he breaks off their relationship and steps up to move in with Cisco for the time being. Barry sees the writing on the wall; he’s not ready to focus on them as a couple. I can only hope he manages to save Iris, and they can try again, but I doubt Iris will be so ready to give him a second chance.

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